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LVEDC’s Redevelopment Program Offers Grant Funding for Brownfields Projects

By Colin McEvoy on January 25, 2016

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) visited sites in Easton and Allentown during an Oct. 8 a tour led by LVEDC.

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) visiting sites in Easton and Allentown during an Oct. 8 a tour led by LVEDC.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (LVEDC) redevelopment program is offering grant funding for environmental site assessments, cleanup planning, and redevelopment planning for brownfields projects.

The funds, which will be administered by LVEDC’s Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative (LVLRI), are available through a $500,000 grant the program received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist with environmental assessments and site cleanup plans for brownfields.

“These funds will help us reclaim properties that have been vacant or underutilized for years and turn them into economic assets for the community,” said Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs.

For more information about how to apply for these funds, contact Kleiner at 610-266-7619 or via email.

A project must be classified as a brownfield, have municipal support for development, and create jobs in order to be eligible for LVLRI assistance.

The EPA defines a brownfield as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”

LVLRI recently completed one of the busiest and most successful years in its 18-year history, having worked on 11 active redevelopment projects in various stages over the course of 2015, roughly twice the number of projects the program has assisted with in some previous years.

The program also continues to gain national recognition for its track record of accomplishment. Kleiner was invited to speak at the 2015 National Brownfields Conference in Chicago, one of the premier national conferences and trade shows focused on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment.

Among the projects LVLRI assisted with this year was the Waterfront, a $300 million mixed-use development being built along the Lehigh River in Allentown; and Bell Hall, a new gourmet burger restaurant in Allentown that opened in the former Schoen’s Furniture Store, which had previously been vacant for 20 years.

Other projects include two Phase I assessments at the Lehigh Valley Dairy site in Whitehall Township, Phase I and II assessments at the Weaversville Road Detention Center, a Phase I assessment at the Second Harvest Food Bank, and Phase I and II assessments at Wave Polarizer, a manufacturer of high-quality polarized film that is relocating from New Jersey to Easton.

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